Gareth Bale flattered by comparison to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale says it is 'flattering' to be compared to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Last Updated: 01/03/13 12:47pm
Tottenham Hotspur winger Bale has been in scintillating form of late and his brace in Monday's 3-2 win over West Ham United took his tally to nine goals in seven appearances for club and country.
The Wales international's performances have drawn comparisons to Messi and Ronaldo, but the 23-year-old is trying not to be distracted by the hype.
"I think anybody would love to be mentioned alongside the best in the world," Bale said in an interview with Sport magazine.
"It's flattering, but I don't really look too much into it. I don't get the newspapers or read too many reports, so I don't really know how much hype there is. Obviously my friends tell me things, but I just treat every day as normal and focus on my job.
"I don't model my game on Ronaldo's. I have my own way of playing and it's not exactly the same but we do have similar attributes. I just like watching the best players: seeing Messi and Ronaldo. I've watched Ronaldo in the past and you do take things from other people's games to try to improve as a player, which I have - hopefully."
Bale is now just as dangerous a player through the centre as out wide and he says Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has played a significant part in his development, improving his tactical awareness since the days of the previous manager Harry Redknapp.
"Harry was more 'go out there and play how you feel and express yourself'. With Andre, there's a certain shape and a style we play," Bale said.
"I think Harry was more free and let you do what you want. Andre does that too, but there's a lot more tactical work. I think it's something that's good to learn. We've done well this year and I think that's down to our defending as well as attacking."
Villas-Boas and Bale face a huge test of their UEFA Champions League credentials this weekend when they face Arsenal at White Hart Lane.
Spurs will move seven points ahead of their bitter rivals in the race for Champions League qualification if they win, but they were thumped 5-2 in the reverse fixture three months ago, thanks partly to Emmanuel Adebayor's early dismissal.
Bale thinks the big defeat will have no bearing on the outcome of Sunday's match against the Gunners, who have finished above their neighbours every year since 1995.
Bale added: "I don't think the 5-2 score really affects this game. We had 10 men for 73 minutes, which isn't easy - especially at the Emirates against probably one of the best footballing teams.
"We just want to take all three points in this one, especially being at home. It's a massive game and Arsenal are probably the one team we want to beat more than anything.
"[We've] got stronger every year since I've been here. I think the standard of players is going up and up. We're still progressing now, and hopefully there's a lot more to come."